Sunday, February 10, 2008

IKEA: Love It or Hate It?

IKEA shelves and containers in an attic

IKEA sells all sorts of organizing-type products: bookshelves, baskets, shoe organizers, and much much more. And everyone who has been to IKEA seems to have a strong opinion about the store - there's not much neutral feeling out there.

The "Love IKEA" Perspective

The Atlanta Constitution-Journal writes about the allure:
When American shoppers hear that Swedish home-furnishings giant IKEA is opening a store nearby, they circle the opening date on their calendars and camp out in the parking lot the night before.

How does a chain emphasizing simple design and quirkily named merchandise — think Swedish, such as a bed mattress called the Sultan Hogbo — inspire such passion?

"They have an astonishing array of products at reasonable prices," said Swedish shopper Ilze Filks.
Monica Moody's I Love IKEA site shares her enthusiasm and links to other sites from other fans.

And IKEA has some good environmental programs - including their program for compact florescent light bulbs. Not only do they sell the bulbs, they provide for their safe disposal.
Bring your used mercury containing lightbulbs to the IKEA store for free disposal. Since our CFL bulbs contain a small amount of mercury, they should not be simply tossed out. IKEA offers the perfect solution: a ‘Free Take Back’ program offering recycle bins in all IKEA stores.

The "I Hate IKEA" Perspective

Danielle Crittenden's Why I Hate IKEA eloquently describes all the standard frustrations regarding quality, service, and not-so-easy assembly. Here's the first paragraph.
It's been years and years since I've ventured out to an Ikea. Maybe that's because it's taken all this time to block out my memories of assembling "Billy" bookcases for my first apartment. The callouses are gone; my thumb is no longer swollen. Time is more precious: I think, for an extra hundred bucks I'll buy one that doesn't result in an entire evening of cursing.
Jonathan's Why I Hate IKEA post starts with this sentence:
I've never spoken to anyone who has said "I'm going to Ikea" with anything other than trepidation in their voice.
Naomi Caine is another unhappy IKEA shopper:
I was weeping uncontrollably by the time I got home. And that was before I opened the box and discovered that I couldn’t understand the instructions and there was a screw missing.
And the Atlanta Constitution-Journal quotes a woman as saying:
You need a GPS to figure out how to get out of there once you manage to finish your shopping.
Personally, IKEA drives me crazy - but I understand why it appeals to people, and I'll direct clients to their stuff when appropriate. And just last year I spent a day in Paris in IKEA.

I'd love to hear your opinions!

Related Posts:
The IKEA Experience
IKEA Idea: Personalize Your Storage


Anonymous said...

I'd say, don't go to Ikea if you're not a handy person! Easy as that. My b/f never has problems with assembling Ikea stuff, and he has fun in doing it.
Lil from Italy

Jeri Dansky said...

Lil, I agree; some people are fine with assemble-it-yourself stuff, and some aren't - and the second category should avoid IKEA, or at least IKEA's furniture.

But I've never before heard someone say assembling the furniture was fun!

Anonymous said...

Detest it. Why do we all keep falling for it? (myself included). Since when has cardboard = furniture? There is a common fallacy at work here - people think Ikea is good value because it is cheap. Ikea ain't that cheap folks! The prices they have the audacity to charge never fail to astound me when you remember that what you are buying is glorified cardboard. Mr and Mrs Ikea must be laughing all the way to the bank. Where does our hard-earned money go exactly? Hmm let's see - quality materials - no, assembly - no, customer service - no, well-qualified and trained staff - no (no need for this as staff at Ikea need to do very little, the customer does everything.). Ikea gives whole new meaning to Do-It-Yourself. And they have the cheek to market it as some sort of forward-thinking/eco/ethical/empowering/consumer choice nonsense. It's simply outrageous. Then, just to add insult to injury, they try and flog us some processed meatballs and other Swedish junkfood before we get to leave the place.

Jeri Dansky said...

Anonymous, thanks for adding your perspective.

You got me curious, so I went looking for recent articles on IKEA. There's some interesting reading on Treehugger.